Tucker-ed out: County exec says sayonara to top job
Albemarle County's longest-serving chief executive, Bob Tucker, announces his plans to retire at the end of the year after 20 years of managing the employees and steering growth into designated areas.
Georgia-born Tucker came to Albemarle in 1973 as its assistant planning director, and even then, containing sprawl was his mission. "Directing growth and development into defined growth areas to maintain those rolling hills, keeping agricultural activities active, and keeping those cows and horses in the pasture" are among the accomplishments of which he's most proud.
Albemarle just picked up another AAA bond rating from Moody's, and Tucker is also proud of the county's sterling credit rating. "When we got it the first time from Standard and Poor's, we were the smallest county in the country to have it," he recalls. "It's the same as getting an Academy Award."
Number three on his list of top achievements as county exec is snagging the former Wachovia building, which became the 5th Street County Office Building. "I grabbed it a quickly as possible and saved $7 million," he brags in his own modest way.
Even for a CEO who's been well-regarded by–- and has outlasted many of–- the county's elected Boards of Supervisors, it hasn't all been smooth sailing for Tucker, especially in the tightened economy with its reduced revenues, while trying to maintain the services a best-place to live demands.
"The most difficult time of my tenure has been the past three years," he admits.
Supervisor Rodney Thomas lauds Tucker's people skills. "He could walk through the County Office Building and greet everyone by name," says Thomas, who worked with Tucker for eight years on the Planning Commission before becoming a supe. "His communication skills are unequaled."
And when it comes time to hire a new county exec, the Tucker skills that Thomas will be looking for: "the intelligence and knowledge of how executive-type government is run."
Beach-lovin' Tucker says he doesn't have specific plans for his retirement, but they'll include travel, serving on boards or commissions, and spending more time with his family.
Certainly, he considers the "24/7 meetings" the worst part of the job. "I calculated I've been to over 1,700 meetings," says Tucker. "That's the tough part of my job, being away from my family."
Even though he's a short timer, Tucker insists he'll be working full time up until midnight December 31.
But wait, that's New Year's Eve. Pledges the indefatigable county chief, "I got 24/7, baby."